Israel Falls to Netherlands, 12-2
SportsWBC Winning Streak Ends

Israel Falls to Netherlands, 12-2

See how it happened with our live blog of the Game 3 rematch in the World Baseball Classic's second round.

Michael Jacobs

Atlanta Jewish Times Editor Michael Jacobs is on his second stint leading the AJT's editorial operations. He previously served as managing editor from 2005 to 2008.

Team Israel wears blue kippot during the playing of "Hatikva" earlier in the World Baseball Classic.
Team Israel wears blue kippot during the playing of "Hatikva" earlier in the World Baseball Classic.

Updated: Team Israel’s winning streak was smashed Monday morning, March 13, by a hot-hitting Netherlands team, 12-2. The game ended after eight innings under the World Baseball Classic‘s mercy rule, which stops the game when a team leads by at least 10 runs after the seventh inning.

Former Brave Jair Jurrjens was dominant for the Netherlands, limiting Israel to ex-Brave Nate Freiman’s fourth-inning home run in six strong innings. He gave up five hits, struck out five and, most important, walked no one.

Israel had a big edge in walks in its first four games, taking 39 bases on balls while giving up 16, an edge of almost six base runners per game. But Israel had no walks while surrendering six against the Netherlands, a team Israel beat 4-2 to end the first round.

Corey Baker, who didn’t record an out in the third inning, took the loss. He gave up four earned runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter in two-plus innings. The seven relievers behind him combined to give up eight more runs, all earned.

The Netherlands had at least one base runner in every inning. Alex Katz, who pitched the sixth inning, was the only Israel pitcher who didn’t give up a hit, but he did walk a batter.

Former Brave Danny Burawa struggled in his one inning of work, allowing four runs on three hits, including a towering home run by New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius.

Ex-Brave Andrelton Simmons was one of three players for the Netherlands to get three hits. He had a double and two singles and scored two runs.

Israel and the Netherlands are now both 1-1 and the second round’s Pool E, while Japan is 1-0 and Cuba is 0-1. Those two teams play at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Israel is still alive to advance to the Final Four. Its best hope is for Japan to beat Cuba, then for Cuba to beat the Netherlands in a game that starts at 10 p.m. Tuesday. Japan would then clinch a spot in the next round before playing Israel, which might give Israel the edge to get another upset win and advance.

Even a loss in that scenario would give Israel a chance to play a tiebreaker game Thursday, but the big number of runs Israel gave up against the Netherlands could come back to haunt the team. That’s because the tiebreaker to decide which two teams make it to the play-in game is based on runs allowed.

Here’s Team Israel manager Jerry Weinstein’s post-game press conference.

Press conference with Team Israel Manager Jerry Weinstein after Israel's loss to Netherlands, the first of the WBC

Posted by Israel Baseball – World Baseball Classic on Monday, 13 March 2017


Team Israel plays the Netherlands on Monday, March 13, in second-round Pool E play of the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.

It’s a rematch of the final game of Pool A in Seoul, a 4-2 win that kept Israel undefeated and won the group for the team of Jewish Americans representing the Jewish homeland.

Israel continued its hot streak Saturday night with a 4-1 victory over Cuba to start the second round, while the Netherlands lost to host Japan in an 11-inning thriller, 8-6, a few hours later.

A win for Israel would almost lock up a spot in the tournament semifinals in Los Angeles, while a loss for the Netherlands would put the Dutch on the verge of elimination.

Corey Baker, who pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings against Taiwan in Israel’s second game, is starting against the Netherlands, whose starting pitcher is former Atlanta Brave Jair Jurrjens.

Follow all the action here, as well as on MLB Network, starting at 6 a.m.

While you wait, here’s Team Israel manager Jerry Weinstein after the win over Cuba.

Press conference following Israel's win over Cuba 4-1

Posted by Israel Baseball – World Baseball Classic on Saturday, 11 March 2017

Good News for Braves

Team Canada went three-and-out in Pool C of the World Baseball Classic, ending its brief run by losing 8-0 to the United States on Sunday. That means Canada’s starting first baseman, Freddie Freeman, is headed back to spring training with the Atlanta Braves.

That California native Freeman, who hit .182 in the WBC, could play for Canada is just another reminder that Israel isn’t the only one of the 16 nations in the tournament taking advantage of loose eligibility rules.

Familiar Faces Across the Diamond

Israel is the home team tonight, so the first batter of the game will be former Atlanta Brave Andrelton Simmons, the best defensive shortstop in baseball.

The Netherlands is so packed with major-league shortstops that Didi Gregorius, the Yankees’ starting shortstop, is the designated hitter. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is at third. The Dutch also start major-leaguers in center field (Texas Ranger Jurickson Profar) and second base (Baltimore Oriole Jonathan Schoop).

Not to mention the ex-Brave and current Rockie on the mound, Jair Jurrjens.

The Press Takes Notice

Some of the news reports about Team Israel:

Top of the 1st Inning

Two pitches, one out as Andrelton Simmons grounds out to short.

Xander Bogaerts lines a single to center. One on, one out.

A slick 3-6 double play started by Nate Freiman off a Jurickson Profar grounder ends the inning in style. It’s 0-0 after half an inning.

Bottom of the 1st

In a crucial game when manager Jerry Weinstein needs a strong performance from Corey Baker, the top of the first couldn’t have gone much better. He threw only seven pitches, six of them strikes, and faced the minimum of three batters.

Now we’ll see what our old friend Jair Jurrjens has these days.

Sam Fuld leads off and, as he has done throughout the tournament, squares up a fastball. But his line drive is right at Profar in center for the first out.

Ty Kelly hits a soft liner to Simmons for the second out. Team Israel is making good contact early against Jurrjens.

Ike Davis, who seemed frustrated by the slow stuff thrown by the Cuban pitcher last game, drives a double to left field. One on, two out, with Nate Freiman at the plate.

Freiman is the only Israel hitter not to make solid contact, squibbing one of the end of the bat to Schoop at second for the 4-3 putout to end the inning. It’s 0-0 after one.

Netherlands Jumps Ahead

Wladimir Balentien, Didi Gregorius and Jonathan Schoop are due up for the Netherlands in the second inning.

Balentien, who has been a hot hitter for the Dutch, draws a walk to lead off the second. He shows good patience in refusing to chase low sinkers from Baker.

Gregorius hits a grounder to Freiman at first, and he forces out Balentien at second. One out with a man on first.

Baker gets away with an elevated first pitch to Schoop, who fouls it straight back. But Baker hits Schoop a few pitches later, and it’s two on with one out.

Shawn Zarraga comes up in the first pressure situation of the game. He rips a grounder into the hole between first and second, and Ty Krieger makes a diving stop to get the out at first. Both runners move up. Second and third with two outs.

Yurendell Decaster lines a 2-1 pitch into center field for a two-run single, and the Netherlands takes a 2-0 lead. Baker’s sinker didn’t sink.

Randolph Oduber lines out to Sam Fuld in center to end the inning, but the damage is done. It’s 2-0 for the Netherlands in the middle of the second.

The damage was self-inflicted for Baker. He gave up a walk and hit a batter, leading directly to the two runs.

Bottom of the 2nd

Zach Borenstein leads off for Team Israel, which has been much more aggressive at the plate than in previous games. The Israel hitters have been swinging at the first pitch from Jurrjens even though much of their success has come from taking walks and working pitch counts.

Borenstein grounds out to Schoop at second for the first out.

Ex-Brave Ryan Lavarnway gets back to the Team Israel way and takes the first pitch. But he grounds out to third. Two out, none on.

Blake Gailen, one of Israel’s offensive stars against Cuba, lines a single to right. One on, two out.

All-time Braves great Andruw Jones is the bench coach for the Netherlands and gets some TV time.

Tyler Krieger, who had a nice defensive play in the top of the inning, strikes out to end the bottom of the second. 2-0 for the Netherlands.

Netherlands Opens Up a 6-0 Lead

Corey Baker needs a good bounce-back inning here, or he won’t be in the game long. Israel can’t risk falling too far behind.

Not a good start. He elevates another sinker, and Simmons bangs it up the middle for a lead-off single.

The Netherlands, which was aggressive at the plate in Game 3, has shown patience against Baker’s sinker, and he’s missing the strike zone. Bogaerts walks on five pitches. Two on, none out.

Jerry Weinstein comes to the mound to talk to Baker, and the bullpen is getting busy.

And that’s it for Baker. He’s out of the game without recording an out in the third. Left-hander Jeremy Bleich, a New Orleans native, comes in for Team Israel in a crucial early situation.

Jurickson Profar lays down a bunt, which is odd for a No. 3 batter with no one out. Bleich makes the play, 1-4, for the first out. Runners on second and third.

Power hitter Wladimir Balentien has a chance to do some damage. The count goes full, and Balentien bounces a single up the middle for two more runs. It was good pitch, down on the outside part of the plate, but Balentien did a nice job not trying to pull it. 4-0 for the Netherlands.

Didi Gregorius lines a 2-2 fastball to the wall in left-center for an RBI double and goes to third on the throw home, and it’s 5-0 for the Netherlands. Still only one out in the third.

Bleich strikes out Jonathan Schoop on a hard slider for the second out.

Zarraga hits a 1-2 pitch off the wall in right center for a double — the first ball to get over Sam Fuld all tournament — to drive in Gregorius, and it’s 6-0.

Decaster, who had the two-RBI single in the second, grounds out to short to end Israel’s worst inning of the WBC. It’s 6-0, middle of the third.

Israel Stifled in Bottom of 3rd

No. 9 hitter Scott Burcham leads off the third, then the top of the order gets its second shot at Jair Jurrjens.

Israel has to stay patient. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, and obviously you can’t hit a six-run home run. Remember, the Dominican Republic trailed the United States 5-0 in the seventh inning Saturday and came back to win.

Burcham lines a single to left to get Israel started in the third.

Sam Fuld, who lined out in the first, rips one to right — directly at Balentien in right field for the first out. I hope major-league scouts are watching Team Israel because Fuld needs to be on a big-league roster.

Ty Kelly hits a slow grounder to Schoop at second. With most shortstops, that would be the only out on the play. With Andrelton Simmons and his rocket arm, it’s a double play to end the inning. The Netherlands takes a 6-0 lead to the fourth.


Netherlands Blows It Open

Danny Burawa, another former Atlanta Brave, takes the mound in the fourth for Team Israel and induces a groundout to short by Randolph Oduber to start the inning.

Burawa did good work for the Braves as a September call-up in 2015.

Andrelton Simmons bloops a double to right, perfectly placed among Freiman, Borenstein and Krieger. It was a good pitch but bad luck.

Bogaerts grounds out sharply to Ty Kelly at third; Simmons has to stay at second. Two outs, one on.

Burawa falls behind Profar 3-0, then walks him on five pitches. That brings up Wladimir Balentien, who holds the single-season record for most home runs in the Nippon Baseball League. Two on, two out.

Burawa gets way too much of the plate with an 0-2 fastball, and Balentien hits it inside-out to right for an RBI single. 7-0 with men on first and third and two outs.

Gregorius crushes a three-run home run to right, and it’s 10-0.

Schoop grounds out to third to end the inning, but the damage has been done. Israel trails 10-0 after 3 1/2, and the possibility of an early ending because of the huge deficit looms.

Israel Gets on the Board

The heart of Israel’s order, Davis, Freiman and Borenstein, is due up in the bottom of the fourth. The rules for the WBC: If a team leads by at least 15 runs after five innings, game over; if a team leads by at least 10 after seven innings, game over.

Davis hits a sky-high fly to Schoop in short right field for the first out.

Freiman gets Israel on the board with a home run to right center on a 3-2 pitch. 10-1, Dutch.

Jurrjens comes back with a three-pitch strikeout of Borenstein.

Lavarnway grounds out to second to end the fourth. Jurrjens has thrown only 51 pitches; no other pitcher has been so efficient against Team Israel.

The Netherlands leads 10-1 after four.

Dutch Load Bases, Don’t Score

Jared Lakind, a new addition to the Israel roster from the Pirates system, comes on to pitch for Israel, facing the 7-8-9 batters. He’s the first pitcher without a B last name; maybe that will change Israel’s luck.

Zarraga grounds out softly to Tyler Krieger at second to start the inning.

DeCaster gets his second single of the night. Israel’s pitchers haven’t retired the Dutch in order yet tonight. One on, one out.

Lakind strikes out Oduber on a wicked curve ball for the second out. One on, two out. Back to the top of the order.

Simmons smokes a line drive to center for a single, his third hit of the game, and the Dutch have runners on first and second with two outs.

Lakind walks Bogaerts to load the bases. Needless to say, Israel can’t afford to give up any more runs.

Profar is hitless so far today. And he remains that way with a groundout to second. It’s still 10-1 in the middle of the fifth.

Israel Can’t Cut Deficit

Israel needs some offense from the bottom of the order with Gailen, Krieger and Burcham due up.

Gailen is called out on a low fastball that looked off the outside corner. One out.

Krieger reaches on a tough error against first baseman deCaster. One on, one out.

Burcham jumps on the first pitch and bounces out to second. Krieger moves to second with two outs.

Fuld also comes up swinging. He fouls off two pitches, then strikes out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning. The Netherlands still leads 10-1 after five innings.

Double Play Stops Dutch

Alex Katz is the next Israel pitcher to face the fierce Netherlands lineup.

Wladimir Balentien leads off with a fly ball to the warning track in right, but Zach Borenstein makes the easy catch.

Didi Gregorius, coming off a three-run homer, walks on a 3-2 pitch.

Jonathan Schoop bounces into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Netherlands continues to lead 10-1 after 5 1/2 innings.

Where Are the Walks?

One of the strengths of Team Israel this tournament has been walks — specifically, walk differential. Israel has drawn a ton of walks while not giving up many free passes. Not tonight. The Netherlands has five walks and a hit batsman. Israel has no walks against Jair Jurrjens.

Ty Kelly ground out to first, 3-1, for the first out.

Smart play by Ike Davis: He lays down a bunt toward third base against the shift for an easy infield single.

Freiman, coming off a home run, lines out to third for the second out.

Those walk numbers: Israel has taken eight to 13 walks in each of the first four games, totaling 39 walks. Even a newspaper guy can tell you that’s just a shade under 10 walks per game. Israel has given up 16 walks, or four per game. That’s an extra six base runners per game. But not today.

Borenstein takes a called third strike to end the sixth inning. 10-1, the Netherlands.


Simmons Retired for a Change

The seventh inning brings a new danger for Israel: If the Netherlands can score at least one run without Israel scoring, the game ends.

Tyler Herron is in to pitch for Israel, while Nick Rickles replaces Lavarnway at catcher and Mike Meyers is in for Fuld in center field.

Zarraga hits a lazy fly ball to Gailen in left for the first out.

DeCaster follows with his third single, a bouncer up the middle.

Sharlon Schoop pinch-hits for Oduber and strikes out looking at a low fastball for the second out.

Andrelton Simmons, after three consecutive hits, grounds out to third to end the inning. Fairly quick work by Herron. It’s 10-1 after 6 1/2.

Israel Inches Closer

Nick Rickles leads off for his first at-bat of the second round; he had one plate appearance and had a hit in the first round. He faces reliever J.C. Sulbaran. An impressive night for Jurrjens: six innings, five hits, no walks, five strikeouts, one earned run.

Rickles pounds a double to the base of the wall in center to lead off the inning (though he’s lucky Super Sam Fuld wasn’t out there to make the play).

Gailen bangs a single off deCaster’s glove at first to drive in Rickles, and it’s 10-2.

Krieger lines out to center for the first out. Israel seems happy to have a pitcher other than Jurrjens in the game.

Burcham lines a high fastball to left. Two on, one out. Burcham plays like Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, but with less power. Kind of like former Brave and former Red Paul Janish.

Mike Meyers, in his first at-bat of the game, drives one to deep right, but Balentien makes the catch for the second out. The Netherlands has seen enough of Sulbaran, who is taken out after getting two loud outs and giving up three hits.

Left-hander Jim Ploeger is now pitching for the Netherlands. He faces Ty Kelly, who switches to hit right-handed.

A lazy fly ball to right ends the inning and the threat. It’s 10-2 for the Netherlands after seven.


Netherlands Extends Lead to 10

It’s left-hander Jake Kalish‘s turn to pitch for Israel. He’ll face Bogaerts, Profar and Balentien.

Bogaerts grounds out to Freiman unassisted at first for the first out.

Profar hammers a hanging curve ball for a double to left, his first hit of the game. Israel still hasn’t pitched a clean inning.

We have a delay because of a bracelet or something on Kalish’s wrist. The umpires are forcing Kalish to remove it, and it has to be cut off.

Balentien lines a single to left to put runners on the corners with one out.

Gregorius hits a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Profar. Borenstein might have has a chance to get Profar at home, but his throw sails over the catcher. That allows Balentien to advance to second. It’s 11-2 for the Netherlands, and Kalish is out. Troy Neiman is your new pitcher, the eighth of the game for Israel.

After falling behind Jonathan Schoop 2-0, Neiman issues an intentional walk. Runners are on first and second with two outs; Zarraga is up.

Zarraga grounds a 1-2 pitch into right-center for an RBI single, giving the Netherlands a 10-run lead. Israel will have to score in the bottom of the inning or the game will end.

DeCaster strike out swinging to end the top of the eighth. 12-2 for the Netherlands.

Bottom of the 8th; Score or It’s Over

Because Israel trails by 10 runs in the seventh inning or later, the game will end after this half-inning if Israel doesn’t score.

Cody Decker pinch-hits for Ike Davis against left-hander Ploeger and strikes out swinging to end a seven-pitch at-bat — and end Ploeger’s night. The Netherlands, either trying to keep Ploeger fresh or trying to ensure the game ends here, goes to the bullpen for right-hander Orlando Yntema to face Nate Freiman.

Freiman is hit by Yntema’s first pitch high on his left arm.

Borenstein hits a fly ball deep to left center, and Profar makes the catch on the warning track despite a collision with left fielder Sharlon Schoop. Two outs, one on.

Rickles is Israel’s last hope to send this game to the ninth inning. But he takes a called third strike to end the game. The Netherlands wins, 12-2.

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